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Jimmy Wayne

Do You Believe Me Now – 2008 (Valory Music)

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Jimmy Wayne

Jimmy Wayne's turbulent childhood as a foster child and teen delinquent, and his personal journal writings, fueled many of the songs on his self-titled debut, painting him as a survivor and poet with a strapping, emotional voice and a penchant for vulnerable story songs. He brings more of these dramatic tales to his soulful sophomore effort (and first on the new label).

In Kerosene Kid, Wayne reminisces about facing his classmates' jeers each winter, as he smelled of the kerosene he used to heat his family's home. The standout, Where You're Going, is the story of Wayne's own encounter with a former detention center guard who had mocked him as a teen. The song's premise is "It's not where you've been/it's where you're going."

Like his first outing, themes of faith and optimism also weave throughout. Ballads like the soaring I Will, (by Dave Pahanish and "Can You Duet" winner Rory Lee Feek) and the romantic One on One are heartfelt, while the stunning True Believer holds onto the idea of ideal love, even in the wake of a painful breakup. I Didn't Come Here to Lose, , the story of Wayne's own setbacks and frustrations in his musical career, is an upbeat encouragement to simply not give up.

While Wayne's voice treads more closely to pop than stone-cold country, it lends a unique rawness and intensity to every track (case in point, his current hit single and title track). It doesn't hurt that he knows his way around a great lyric as well.